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Do you agree with the measures taken to combat the coronavirus?


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Interestingly enough, I felt much the same about your post. A well-written reply, but ultimately wrong. :sneaky:

As for your criticism, that I feel I know better than the scientist, you are partly right, partly wrong. True enough, me and some of my immediate family members (wife, brother, and father ) are a bit of smart-asses, who tend to think we know best in lots of different issues. No doubt, sometimes a more humble approach from our side would be wiser.

However, when discussing the pandemic, we are not total amateurs. My father is a professor of medicine (he was one of the referees on the Lancet article I referred to) and my wife is a statistics professor, that knows a thing or two about data interpretation and data analysis. While me and my brother are the least qualified in our family discussions about the pandemic, being physics professors, at least we understand the mathematical modeling aspects of the problem. Still, with that being said, obviously, none of us works with the core issues related to policymaking in a pandemic, and thus our respective points of view should be regarded as that of mere laymen, our academic titles notwithstanding. So, the bottom line is that I agree with you that policy-making should be made by the true experts (those who study the relevant science issues for a living), not by some hobby-experts (like, for example, myself).

The problem is, to find the best policy is not just an issue of infectious spreading. In most countries, the experts guiding the politicians are working at an authority specialized in infection protection. I guess that makes sense since it is an infection we are dealing with. Still, it is not ideal, since many of the health issues of a pandemic do not depend only on the virus itself, like psychic disorders, heart diseases, cancer, etc, see the Lancet article I referred to.

In Sweden, the experts guiding the politicians work on the public health agency. It is a relatively new authority, which was founded as late as 2014 when the authority specialized in infectious spreading was fused with the institute for public health. Thus, in contrast to most other countries, while the Swedish authority has lots of experts on infectious spreading, they also have access to experts with a broader perspective on health issues. In Sweden, while the politicians have been praised by some for following the advice of Swedish experts, they have also gotten criticism "why are you only listening to the Swedish experts, obviously, experts in other countries give different advice, favoring more severe restrictions." I think much of the difference is explained by the broad set of experts employed by the public health agency in Sweden. The fact that the experts in infectious spreading have to weigh their arguments against other health arguments, makes for a more balanced analysis. Also, I think the Swedish politicians have been wise, not falling for the temptation to take ineffective measures just to show decisiveness.

With that said, you are certainly right about one thing. We won't know who is right before everything is over, and maybe not even then.:sneaky:
Ok, I know I was right on one thing too that you know your stuff when it comes to pandemics and Sweden. Never implied otherwise. I take your point on making decisions based on informed overall health care of the citizens. The assumption that everyone has even the same options as you do was my critique (heck we don't even have massive testing capability, in USA there isn't nearly enough). You live in literally another world there (small compared to the hardest-hit countries in Europe). It could be construed as speaking on a high horse, or even ignorant of others.

Containment, public health security and political stability at the expence of other potential illnesses, disorders derived and/from the economical devastation was the only approach with social economic help and a gradual exit. Thus alleviating the burden to get room space for other illnesses and prevent getting to an Ecuador level systematic chaos. That was my point. Scientist here in this part of the world and many, didn't even have to venture into another possibility, with our tendency to do what we want, whenever pleases and social complete mess, a rabid behaviourist approach was the way to go from the start.
 

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The ultra-Orthodox, Haredi Jews represent about 11 percent of the total Israeli population. Although the population of Bnei Brak is some 200,000, they have 900 COVID-19 patients compared to Jerusalem's 916 out of a population of 900,000. According to the Jerusalem Post, one in seven Israelis with coronavirus is from Bnei Brak.
Professor Moti Ravid, Medical Director of Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center that’s located in Bnei Brak, said that there are several reasons why the disease spread so rapidly in those communities.

According to Ravid, they are less responsive to government guidelines and have a “clear tendency to their own behavior patterns.”


They lagged in adaptation of the restrictions published by the Ministry of Health by about two weeks and more behind the general population,” Ravid said during a telephone briefing, courtesy of Media Central.
 

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People here pointing out the danger of COVID 19 have made many good points, most importantly, that it cannot be compared with the ordinary flu and that strong measures are justified. While I won't argue against these general observations, I gotta say I still have some sympathy for Bighax's point of view. Not that we shouldn't take the virus seriously (we should), but just like Bighax I'm asking myself, are really all the strong measures justified? Before you deem me a COVID 19 denier, just hear me out:

First of all, the idea that people arguing for less severe restrictions are willing to sacrifice lives to save the economy is not necessarily true. Sure, a heavy lockdown of society during a longer period will lead to severe economic recession, no doubt about that. But the thing is that saving the economy is not all about the money per se - a recession by itself implies a deteriorated public health, with problems such as increased mortality in psychic disorders, heart diseases, cancer, etc. For those of you who think this sounds far-fetched, you may read a study in Lancet: Economic downturns, universal health coverage, and cancer mortality in high-income and middle-income countries, 1990-2010: a longitudinal analysis. - PubMed - NCBI made a few years ago. As you can see, the study deduced that the economic crisis in 2008 increased mortality by 260 000, counting cancer cases only.

Secondly, I have a feeling that many commentators (not specifically on MTF) are commentating on a marathon race as if it was a sprint. The countries that have the lowest mortality early on are assumed to be the ones that come out the best in the end. However, very few seem to be prepared for a heavy lockdown for more than a few months. If countries with only a minor fraction of their population having been infected lose up on their restrictions before a vaccine is out, what you think is gonna happen?

Thirdly, I am living in a country (Sweden) where the restrictions are fairly mild, and I think we have succeeded in finding some sort of balance. Those who can work from home, but it is not mandatory. Older students (high school and universities) get their teaching online, whereas the schools are open for the younger pupils (15 and below). Restaurants are open but with restrictions for the number of visitors. Sports events with a larger audience are closed but at lower levels (with minor or no audience), a lot of activities are still going on. As for now, this relative openness has come at a prize, since Sweden has a higher death toll than our neighbors that got the disease at roughly the same time. However, the situation is far from a disaster. While the health care employees are working hard, we still have room for more people at the intensive care units. Importantly, since the measures have not been draconic, people are ready to follow the recommendations from officials for several more months, rather than looking for ways to beat the system.

Fourth: The Swedish politicians in charge have followed the recommendation from the state experts to a large degree. In Denmark, for example, the experts made the same recommendation as in Sweden (not to close the school for young pupils), but the politicians wanted to show power and decisiveness, and therefore the Danish politicians decided against the advice of their own experts. I'm not blaming them, really, because it's so easy to understand the psychology of it all. When the death count keeps ticking, and everyone wants you to do something, it is so easy to fall for the pressure. No doubt, your own country will be compared with the neighbors, and if the death count/capita is higher than your neighbors, you can be sure you will be held accountable. No matter if your state experts did not advocate super-strong measures, as the leader of the government, you were the one in charge.

While I'm advocating a policy without draconian measures, I'm not saying that all of you who prefer a more strict policy does not have a point. In fact, I think you do, as the virus is far worse than what we have seen in a long time. Nevertheless, unless a cure (vaccine or anti-viral treatment) appears sooner than anyone expects, my guess is that many countries with super-strict policies will lose up. And when they do, they will be worse off than they would have been, had they been less strict in the earlier stages.
A few comments and counterpoints to your points:

1: While a recession, or a slowed down economy, brings issues at one end, its effects on public health are not clear cut. E.g. a related article to the one you posted states:

The public health effect of economic crises and alternative policy responses in Europe: an empirical analysis

[...]

We investigated how economic changes have affected mortality rates over the past three decades and identified how governments might reduce adverse effects.

[...]

We noted no consistent evidence across the EU that all-cause mortality rates increased when unemployment rose, although populations varied substantially in how sensitive mortality was to economic crises, depending partly on differences in social protection. Every US$10 per person increased investment in active labour market programmes reduced the effect of unemployment on suicides by 0.038% (95% CI -0.004 to -0.071).

INTERPRETATION:
Rises in unemployment are associated with significant short-term increases in premature deaths from intentional violence, while reducing traffic fatalities. Active labour market programmes that keep and reintegrate workers in jobs could mitigate some adverse health effects of economic downturns.

Further:


Death rates have dropped during past economic downturns, even as many health trends have worsened. Researchers are scrambling to decipher lessons before the next big recession.

[...]

There are many potential contributors. One of the more predictable perks of a poor economy is fewer job-related accidents5. The most-experienced workers are the ones most likely to keep their jobs during a recession, and slower production can allow for more attention to safety.

People also tend to drive less, which translates to fewer traffic accidents6. And fewer vehicles on the road might also help to explain why air quality is better7. “When employment pops up, so do things related to pollution — commerce, industry, trucks on the road,” says Mary Davis, an environmental-policy specialist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. The air-quality connection might also help explain why studies have also linked recessions to reduced cardiovascular and respiratory problems, as well as infant mortality.

Researchers have suggested other explanations. In addition to dirty air, cardiovascular issues are known to be exacerbated by stress, a poor diet, lack of exercise, drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. Working less and having less money to spend could translate into more sleep, exercise and home-cooked meals, as well as less job-related stress and less money for pints of beer and cigarettes. There is some evidence that this logic plays out. Based on data from 1987 through to 2000, Ruhm found that smoking and excess weight declined during economic downturns, whereas leisure-time physical activity increased8. When Iceland’s economy crashed in 2008, and the price of imported goods such as tobacco and alcohol rose, citizens consumed fewer of those products9. And US data from 1977 to 2008 showed that a husband’s unemployment reduced how much alcohol his wife drank, on average, irrespective of her own employment status10. Even people who fear job loss, but remain fully employed, Catalano’s research suggests, might still cut back on alcohol to seem a more indispensable employee11.

Yet studies have shown that people cope with economic insecurity in unhealthy ways, too.

[...]

Social scientists and epidemiologists are beginning to find more common ground, especially in the possibility that losing a job might be bad for an individual’s health, whereas a declining economy could still be good, on average, for a population’s physical health — although not necessarily mental health. Burgard left the Ann Arbor meeting intrigued enough to read the studies by Ruhm and other economists, as well as the papers dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.

“That was a big revelation,” she says. “The conclusions we were drawing from different research perspectives can actually coexist.”

[...]

354887


[...]

When they faced major recessions, Sweden and Finland invested heavily in worker retraining and other programmes to improve people’s chances of getting jobs. As a result, these countries escaped rises in suicides, says Stuckler. “These programmes help people stay plugged in,” he says. “They give people a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

Health makes wealth
Health-promoting investments, such as those made by Sweden and Finland during recessions, might also help an economy to bounce back by boosting productivity and reducing the burden on welfare. An analysis24 of Denmark’s active labour market programmes calculated savings equal to about US$47,000 per worker between 1995 and 2005.

A similar connection emerged during the New Deal, the social and economic programmes championed by Roosevelt between 1933 and 1938, and widely credited with pulling the United States out of the Great Depression.

[...]

Health problems that arise during recessions, Stuckler suggests, might have less to do with the recession itself and more to do with the policy response. “Cutting public health is a false economy,” he says. “Unfortunately, it is a soft, easy target for politicians.”
In short, of course a recession isn't something to aspire to, but its consequences to health aren't clear cut, and the right policy measures could help to tackle/mitigate the ensuing negatives. The negatives however tend to also accrue unevenly, increasing the already existing health inequalities. This within and between countries (differences in personal and societal safety nets). Further (as you also brought up in terms of this epidemic), you could also argue that the number of deaths short term isn't an all encompassing quantifier. Even if the number of deaths decreases during recessions, but more people come out of it with mental and physical issues as well as poverty, it's tough to argue that the recession resulted in something good. Particularly from a utilitarian POV. But in addition to societal safety nets for individuals, the way governments will come to the aid of (healthy) businesses and entrepreneurs will be critical. E.g. in the early 90's recession in Finland, government decided to bail out banks (without taking equity stakes), allowing tens of thousands of entrepreneurs to plunge into unsurmountable debt, resulting in 10000+ suicides. I believe in Sweden the 90's bailouts included equity stakes, thus banks were not only given a pass. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, both Sweden and Finland as well as Austria took active measures in trying to mitigate the negative effects (unemployment, homelessness, debt), managing to prevent a rise in suicides.

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2 & 3: The post-lockdown time is an unknown. However, there are variations between lockdown approaches as well. They need not be draconian. You can still allow people to go outside, and e.g. allow restaurants and cafes to operate on a take-away basis etc. In regards to OP, I can't fathom why he'd be against each and every measure. E.g. social distancing is an approach used in every country, lockdown or not. There needs to be some sort of measures to slow down the spread, and social distancing is easy to implement and understand.

As to life post-lockdown, there's one possible model besides striving towards a 'herd immunity via controlled spread' that would also allow the functioning of the society while keeping the spread under control (I think I brought this up in one of my previous replies as well) - the active and targeted identification and containment, coupled with contact tracing. This is the type of approach applied e.g. in S-Korea and Taiwan. In terms of the marathon analogy, as of now no one knows how long this race will be and what lies ahead. Thus another analogy could be a situation where a society enters a dark cave as the entrance collapses, with a lot of uncertainty regarding a possible exit somewhere up ahead. A lockdown could be thought of as taking time for your eyes to adjust, and looking for a flashlight before continuing; however you can't stay doing this forever either (economic effects of stricter measures/lockdown). S-Korea and Taiwan had the flashlight in hand pretty much upon entering. Some western countries applying a lockdown are now rummaging through their bag before going ahead. Sweden could be seen as deciding to go forward in the dark while simultaneously searching for a flashlight. There are still many long term unknowns up ahead in order to know about the appropriate long term approach. E.g. regarding immunity - will it sustain, and for how long; mutations; whether herd immunity via controlled spread is attainable. One adverse effect of a spread is also that the more infections you have, the harder it is to keep the spread from reaching the at-risk groups - you'll have more 'vectors' leading to them - which could be one reason for the comparably high number of deaths in Sweden (what do the officials offer as an explanation?). Well, we/the officals will be wiser as time passes. If anything, for future / from a scientific standpoint it's beneficial to see various measures being explored. Certainly I'm hoping the road Sweden is on will be successful, but remain wary personally, and based on my current knowledge I'm inclined to gravitate towards those "Asian approaches". However, as I've stated previously, there's also a possibility that the appropriate approach could be culture dependent.

Regarding S. Korea's and Taiwans approach, they both have utilized cell phones in tracking. IINM S. Korea has a far more 'big brothery' approach by being able to monitor the movements of every citizen, combining e.g. cell phone data and security footage. This allows them to actually draw a path of a person's movement. Citizens will then be notified when they are close to a location which someone found to be infected has visited in the past, making even distinctions based on time ('infected person was in place X less than 24 hours ago; 48 hours ago'; and so on). S. Koreans have gone along with this taking a communitarian moral philosophical stance over a libertarian one, i.e. prioritizing public health of the entire community (including themselves of course) over personal privacy.


Taiwan's officials have taken slightly less invasive measures in this regard, providing only quarantined persons with government-issued cell phones for the purpose of tracking. Taiwan though had a vast number of other prompt measures implemented to identify and mitigate the spread. Travel restrictions; fines for breaking quarantines, or for spreading false information about the virus (in Taiwan you'd think twice before peddling that 'Covid-19 is caused by 5G' bollocks); active testing; vast allocation of masks, with price limitations placed on them; etc. Full listing: https://cdn.jamanetwork.com/ama/content_public/journal/jama/0/jvp200035supp1_prod.pdf Apparently also them being denied a WHO membership may have worked to their advantage. WHO's response has come under some criticism, with China possibly having a negative influence. Taiwan was wary about this and did not wait for WHO's lead.

[...]

The WHO argues that Taiwan's exclusion from meetings of member states does not have an effect on the day-to-day sharing of health information and guidance, with experts and health workers still interacting with international colleagues through the organization. However, numerous observers, including Taiwanese officials, have claimed that it has had a negative effect both during the SARS epidemic and the current crisis.

Natasha Kassam, an expert on China, Taiwan and diplomacy at Australia's Lowy Institute, said that early on in the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of direct and timely channels to the WHO "resulted in inaccurate reporting of cases in Taiwan," with WHO officials apparently relying on Beijing for numbers from the island.
"Taiwanese authorities have complained about the lack of access to WHO data and assistance," she said.

That lack of information may have forced Taiwan to go it alone and make decisions early on independently of the WHO guidance and broader international consensus.
Assistance goes in both directions, however, and in recent weeks, Taiwanese officials have repeatedly complained that their exclusion from the WHO is preventing the island playing its full part in the global response.

[...]
Taiwan's coronavirus response is among the best globally

Both S. Korea and Taiwan had the "benefit" of having experienced similar epidemics in the past; SARS in Taiwan; MERS in S.Korea

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For people thinking technology assisted tracing is out of the question due to its Orwellian nature, encrypted decentralized ways to achieve this have been proposed:


In the following, we outline social and technical minimum requirements for such technologies. The CCC sees itself in an advisory and observation role in this debate. We will not recommend specific apps, concepts or procedures. We however advise against the use of apps that do not meet these requirements.

I. Societal requirements
1. Epidemiological sense & purpose

The basic prerequisite is that "contact tracing" can realistically help to significantly and demonstrably reduce the number of infections. The validation of this assessment is the responsibility of epidemiology. If it turns out that "contact tracing" via app is not useful or does not fullfil the purpose, the experiment must be terminated.

The application and any data collected must be used exclusively to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection chains. Any other use must be technically prevented as far as possible and legally prohibited.

2. Voluntariness & freedom from discrimination

For an epidemiologically significant efficacy, a "contact tracing" app requires a high degree of dissemination in society. This wide distribution must not be achieved by force, but only by implementing a trustworthy system that respects privacy. Against this background, there must be no levying of fees for use as well as no financial incentives for usage.

People who refuse to use it must not experience any negative consequences. Ensuring this is a matter for politics and legislation.

The app must regularly inform people about its operation. It must allow for simple temporary deactivation and permanent removal. Restrictive measures, e.g. an "electronic shackles" function to control contact restrictions, must not be implemented.

3. Fundamental privacy

Only with a convincing concept based on the principle of privacy can social acceptance be achieved at all.

At the same time, verifiable technical measures such as cryptography and anonymisation technologies must ensure user privacy. It is not sufficient to rely on organisational measures, "trust" and promises. Organisational or legal hurdles against data access cannot be regarded as sufficient in the current social climate of state-of-emergency thinking and possible far-reaching exceptions to constitutional rights through the Infection Protection Act.

We reject the involvement of companies developing surveillance technologies as "covid washing". As a basic principle, users should not have to 'trust' any person or institution with their data, but should enjoy documented and tested technical security.

4. Transparency and verifiability

The complete source code for the app and infrastructure must be freely available without access restrictions to allow audits by all interested parties. Reproducible build techniques must be used to ensure that users can verify that the app they download has been built from the audited source code.

II. Technical requirements
5. No central entity to trust

A completely anonymous contact tracing without omniscient central servers is technically possible. A dependence of the users' privacy on the trustworthiness and competence of the operator of central infrastructure is technically not necessary. Concepts based on this "trust" are therefore to be rejected.

In addition, promised security and trustworthiness of centralised systems - for example against the connection of IP addresses with anonymous user IDs - cannot be effectively verified by users. Systems must therefore be designed to guarantee the security and confidentiality of user data exclusively through their encryption and anonymisation concept and the verifiability of the source code.

6. Data economy

Only minimal data and metadata necessary for the application purpose may be stored. This requirement prohibits the central collection of any data that is not specific to a contact between people and its duration.

If additional data such as location information are recorded locally on the phones, users must not be forced or tempted to pass this data on to third parties or even publish it. Data that is no longer needed must be deleted. Sensitive data must also be securely encrypted locally on the phone.

For voluntary data collection for epidemiological research purposes that goes beyond the actual purpose of contact tracing, a clear, separate consent must be explicitly obtained in the app's interface and it must be possible to revoke it at any time. This consent must not be a prerequisite for use.

7. Anonymity

The data that each device collects about other devices must not be suitable for deanonymizing their users. The data that each person may pass on about themself must not be suitable for deanonymising the person. It must therefore be possible to use the system without collecting or being able to derive personal data of any kind. This requirement prohibits unique user identifications.

IDs for "contact tracing" via wireless technology (e.g. Bluetooth or ultrasound) must not be traceable to persons and must change frequently. For this reason, it is also forbidden to connect or derive IDs with accompanying communication data such as push tokens, telephone numbers, IP addresses used, device IDs etc.

8. No creation of central movement or contact profiles

The system must be designed in such a way that movement profiles (location tracking) or contact profiles (patterns of frequent contacts traceable to specific people) can't be established intentionally or unintentionally. Methods such as central GPS/location logging or linking the data to telephone numbers, social media accounts and the like must therefore be rejected as a matter of principle.

9. Unlinkability

The design of the temporary ID generation must be such that IDs cannot be interpreted and linked without possession of a user controlled private key. They must therefore not be derived from other directly or indirectly user identifying information. Regardless of the way IDs are communicated in the event of infection, it must be ruled out that the collected "contact tracing" data can be chained over longer periods of time.

10. Unobservability of communication

Even if the transmission of a message is observed in the system (e.g. via communication metadata), it must not be possible to conclude that a person is infected himself or herself or has had contact with infected persons. This must be ensured both with regard to other users and to infrastructure and network operators or attackers who gain insight into these systems.
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One such project: HOME | Pepp-Pt with this being a decentralized implementation https://github.com/DP-3T/documents

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As to the goals of lockdowns, it varies between countries, but it's not necessarily limited to trying to slow down the spread in order to prevent the hospitals/health-care system from being run over. Another goal can be to slow down the spread so much so that you can then start utilizing targeted identification, containment and tracing. The time of the lockdown should also be spent on developing/putting in place the appropriate systems/mechanisms. Lastly, I do think that the West was caught off guard to the extent that lockdowns were justified. I don't however condone all the varieties of lockdowns - e.g. HC shelter-in-place type decisions without a possibility to even exercise; complete closure of businesses; or policing social distancing with precise distances and fines if you happen to violate this by an inch or two (Netherlands AFAI understood). Here's an Imperial College study on the effectiveness of various measures (lockdown; school closures; banning of public events; social distancing; case based self isolation) in 11 European countries; how different measures seem to have lowered R0; lockdowns are found to have had the biggest single impact: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-Europe-estimates-and-NPI-impact-30-03-2020.pdf

Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 11 European countries

Summary

Following the emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its spread outsideof China, Europe is now experiencing large epidemics. In response, many European countries have implemented unprecedented non-pharmaceutical interventions including case isolation, the closure of schools and universities, banning of mass gatherings and/or public events, and most recently, widescale social distancing including local and national lockdowns. In this report, we use a semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchical model to attempt to infer the impact of these interventions across 11 European countries. Our methods assume that changes in the reproductive number – a measure of transmission - are an immediate response to these interventions being implemented rather than broader gradual changes in behaviour. Our model estimates these changes by calculating backwards from the deaths observed over time to estimate transmission that occurred several weeks prior, allowing for the time lag between infection and death.

[...]


In Italy, we estimate that the effective reproduction number, Rt, dropped to close to 1 around the time of lockdown (11th March), although with a high level of uncertainty.

Overall, we estimate that countries have managed to reduce their reproduction number. Our estimates have wide credible intervals and contain 1 for countries that have implemented all interventions considered in our analysis. This means that the reproduction number may be above or below this value. With current interventions remaining in place to at least the end of March, we estimate that interventions across all 11 countries will have averted 59,000 deaths up to 31 March [95% credible interval 21,000-120,000]. Many more deaths will be averted through ensuring that interventions remain in place until transmission drops to low levels. We estimate that, across all 11 countries between 7 and 43 million individuals have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 up to 28th March, representing between 1.88%and 11.43% of the population. The proportion of the population infected to date – the attack rate - is estimated to be highest in Spain followed by Italy and lowest in Germany and Norway, reflecting the relative stages of the epidemics. Given the lag of 2-3 weeks between when transmission changes occur and when their impact can be observed in trends in mortality, for most of the countries considered here it remains too early to be certain that recent interventions have been effective.

[...]

Overall, we cannot yet conclude whether current interventions are sufficient to drive 𝑅𝑡 below 1 (posterior probability of being less than 1.0 is 44% on average across the countries). We are also unable to conclude whether interventions may be different between countries or over time. There remains a high level of uncertainty in these estimates. It is too early to detect substantial intervention impact in many countries at earlier stages of their epidemic (e.g. Germany, UK, Norway). Many interventions have occurred only recently, and their effects have not yet been fully observed due to the time lag between infection and death. This uncertainty will reduce as more data become available. For all countries, our model fits observed deaths data well (Bayesian goodness of fit tests). We also found that our model can reliably forecast daily deaths 3 days into the future, by withholding the latest 3 days of dataand comparing model predictions to observed deaths (Appendix 8.3)

[...]
 

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Sweden, just checked, has almost a 10% death of all Corona cases .

Today total cases - new - total death - new
Sweden11,445+4971,033+114

That is really high, 9 % death rate, now why would you think that is @Henrik ? It is higher that any country (by the looks) and well above the world death rate. Stunning number that would make 99% of the world go nuts , there must be a logic explanation.

And Swedish seem to cope rather well and go on . Not go mad . Fascinating, really.
 

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Sweden, just checked, has almost a 10% death of all Corona cases .

Today total cases - new - total death - new
Sweden11,445+4971,033+114

That is really high, 9 % death rate, now why would you think that is @Henrik ? It is higher that any country (by the looks) and well above the world death rate. Stunning number that would make 99% of the world go nuts , there must be a logic explanation.

And Swedish seem to cope rather well and go on . Not go mad . Fascinating, really.
Sweden is not exactly pushing testing, so the confirmed cases are a meaningless number, as far as mortality rate is concerned.
 

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Sweden is not exactly pushing testing, so the confirmed cases are a meaningless number, as far as mortality rate is concerned.
Ok yeah that's the whole point I guess of getting immunity, treat the strong cases as they come, mild ones isolate and live with virus without test contact tracing asymptomatic
 

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Sweden, just checked, has almost a 10% death of all Corona cases .

Today total cases - new - total death - new
Sweden11,445+4971,033+114

That is really high, 9 % death rate, now why would you think that is @Henrik ? It is higher that any country (by the looks) and well above the world death rate. Stunning number that would make 99% of the world go nuts , there must be a logic explanation.

And Swedish seem to cope rather well and go on . Not go mad . Fascinating, really.
You know, I pointed out that Sweden had a higher death rate than our neighbors. But with that said, I don't think the ratio of confirmed cases in relation to the deaths tells the whole story. For one thing, Sweden (as many other countries) does not test persons with comparatively mild symptoms, which constitute the vast majority. They are told they should not go to the hospital, just isolate themselves at home until they have recovered, and then stay home for two more days. The real number of cases in Sweden is probably in the range 150 000 - 500 000 according to the best estimates. This situation is by no means unique to Sweden. That the real number of cases is very much higher than the confirmed ones applies to most other countries with a high number of deaths in relation to confirmed cases.

But let me be clear - I'm not saying Sweden has done everything right. Far from it. For one thing, many homes for the elderly have been infected, which makes up for a huge majority of the deaths. However, for the most part, this failure is not the result of the relatively mild recommendations coming from the public health agency. The public health agency is responsible for decisions of not closing the society at large, keeping schools and restaurants open (although with some restrictions), allowing shop owners to go on with their business for the most part, etc. Since people do avoid visiting elderly and other persons belonging to risk groups in these times, the virus spreading in the healthy part of the population does not seem to cause a lot of casualties. Problem is, there is a large number of persons working in elderly homes, the job is not well paid, and the education level is generally low. As a result, the leaders managing the elderly homes have not been able to shut the virus out, since the employees bring it in. You could argue that this problem would have been smaller had a smaller fraction of the population been infected (obviously, fewer persons working at elderly homes would have been infected), but I'm not sure that closing the society at large is the best way to protect the elderly. At some point, the employees at elderly homes are likely to become infected anyway. In hindsight, what should have been done, would have been to give extra resources to elderly homes to take better protective measures. This could have included frequent testing of the employees and time for educating the personnel in basic risk prevention.

Now to be clear, this is my own view of things, obviously not all people in Sweden agree, and there is an ongoing debate in Swedish media where some argue we should have taken a more strict approach (closing schools, restaurants, shops, etc), like many of our neighbors.
 

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I don't trust Sweden numbers anymore. They simply have too much credibility to lose.

Anyway, we can still see the situation is worse than Norway, but it must be even worse than that.
 

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[...]
Problem is, there is a large number of persons working in elderly homes, the job is not well paid, and the education level is generally low. As a result, the leaders managing the elderly homes have not been able to shut the virus out, since the employees bring it in. You could argue that this problem would have been smaller had a smaller fraction of the population been infected (obviously, fewer persons working at elderly homes would have been infected), but I'm not sure that closing the society at large is the best way to protect the elderly. At some point, the employees at elderly homes are likely to become infected anyway. In hindsight, what should have been done, would have been to give extra resources to elderly homes to take better protective measures. This could have included frequent testing of the employees and time for educating the personnel in basic risk prevention.
[...]
You might be interested in this opinion piece, that speculates that hospitals and nursing homes are the main vectors for spreading the virus. It's a pretty long article.


The troubling thing about this article is that it states outright that in the case of hospitals those working in the medical field already know that hospitals are often functioning as hotspots for spreading diseases. Iirc, you have family that work in the medical field, maybe you could ask them about that particular bit.
 

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You might be interested in this opinion piece, that speculates that hospitals and nursing homes are the main vectors for spreading the virus. It's a pretty long article.


The troubling thing about this article is that it states outright that in the case of hospitals those working in the medical field already know that hospitals are often functioning as hotspots for spreading diseases. Iirc, you have family that work in the medical field, maybe you could ask them about that particular bit.
The Italian doctors have warned about these as well for some time:


Advise for Covid-19 dedicated hospitals/units, and treating as many patients as possible at home. Have also subsequently stressed the importance of sufficient protective gear in hospitals.

There has also been a questionable policy of sending recovering patients to elderly care centers in order to free up beds in hospitals for those in more dire need. Government has stated that "strict rules apply to which facilities can be used to ensure no contamination takes place, from physical distancing, to training staff and equipping them with protective gear." but there have been worries over this:

"Who's going to be checking the rules are enforced?" Marco Agazzi, president of the Bergamo branch of the national union of Italian doctors, told AFP.

"There are enormous difficulties in accessing protective gear, and if new recruits cannot be found it will mean taking away essential staff at already overstretched facilities," he said, describing the government's decision as "extremely perplexing".

Roberto Bernabei, geriatrics professor at Catholic University in Rome, said regulations at care homes were a "grey zone, because they change from local health authority to local health authority, city to city, region to region".

[...]

Pensioner trade unions have been calling for hotels, student housing or military barracks to be used instead.
 

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Advise for Covid-19 dedicated hospitals/units, and treating as many patients as possible at home. Have also subsequently stressed the importance of sufficient protective gear in hospitals.
[...]
I've read Sweden is doing exactly that. This still leaves the problem of nursing homes. I hope someone high up pays attention to that.
 

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Corona dissidents should volunteer at hospitals.
I would never visit a hospital unless it is absolutely necessary because I believe hospitals even here are more dangerous than the majority of the reasons why people visit them and I am living in one of the countries with one of the better health care systems in the world. Actually the state of the hospitals here currently is, that they are preparing for a heavy load of Sars-2 patients and partially blocking the entry for other ones while they are in fact rather empty.

As for other countries, Italy for instance, I'd rather shoot myself directly than entering one of the hospitals there. Per year thousands of people die just because of multiresitent hospital-germs alone (big problem elsewhere too). Years of privatizing sectors that should have never been privatized and saving money in fields like healthcare where money shouldn't have been saved have led to a situation where an infectious disease like Sars-2 has been able to turn a bad situation into an absolutely disastrous one and you obviously got to feel sorry for the people working in these bad conditions. You can call me terrible for saying the Virus hasn't created problems, just made them more obvious (by amplifying them big time in some places ofc.) but at least I am not acting like everything had been fine before, supporting the system that is responsible for them to a large degree and only care for them now that the media has decided to show them to me as one of the causes potentially affects me too.
 

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In short, I support the strict measures that most countries have implemented. I don't think the virus is "extremely dangerous" necessarily, but it's dangerous enough to warrant these measures.

In summary, I support the measures because:

1. There's no question hunderds of thousands more people will die if we don't implement these measures. Mortaility rate is probably 1%, vs. 0.1% for the flu.
2. To reduce the stress on the health care systems, saving some capacity to treat COVID-19 patients as well as patients with other illnesses
3. This is a new threat, which means there are a lot of unknown parameters. In the face of uncertainty, it's usually better to err on the side of caution. Overreacting is the rational choice
4. The tradeoff between health and economic health is not that straightforward. Just because some of the measures are lifted doesn't mean the economy returns to normal. As long as the virus threat is there, people will travel less, spend less on restaurant/bars, call in sick more often, and be generally more cautious.

That said, I definitely don't think these measures are optimal. With the benefit of hindisght, we will hopefully develop a better strategy when the next pandemic hits.
 

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sweden now +170 deaths while the daily infections stagnate at around 500 with 7.4k tests per million. quite obvious their numbers are BS.
And which numbers aren't bullshit?

I personally kind of enjoy the German numbers, when "positive signs" are announced on a weekly basis just because there is less testing on weekends. But my favourite has to be a diagram, the doubling time over the actual time diagram, which is turning a lowering in an exponential increase into another increase. This way of displaying anything is obviously as terrible and unintuitive as it gets, but I like the subtle "go fuck yourself, we don't want you to understand anything" between the lines, because basically noone is going to understand it.
 

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And which numbers aren't bullshit?

I personally kind of enjoy the German numbers, when "positive signs" are announced on a weekly basis just because there is less testing on weekends. But my favourite has to be a diagram, the doubling time over the actual time diagram, which is turning a lowering in an exponential increase into another increase. This way of displaying anything is obviously as terrible and unintuitive as it gets, but I like the subtle "go fuck yourself, we don't want you to understand anything" between the lines, because basically noone is going to understand it.
well, german numbers are actually dropping as seen by the daily death toll, you can't tweak that.
but i agree, charts and statistics could easily be presented in a deceiving manner and used for propaganda.
 

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well, german numbers are actually dropping as seen by the daily death toll, you can't tweak that.
but i agree, charts and statistics could easily be presented in a deceiving manner and used for propaganda.
The death toll is the only number I actually consider usable when comparing countries. Not as something to judge the severeness of the disease, but as a rough comparision of the spread in different countries.

The methode is far from perfect since the counting of deaths also differs from one country to another for instance, but since the lethality should be more or less the same everywhere (disregarding differences in the quality of healthcare systems), I like to calculate total number of infections with the number of deaths and an estimated lethality between 0.1 and 0.5. I consider this as much better than comparing the total number of confirmed cases, the difference in the amount of testing is just far too big to draw ANY conclusion from those numbers. Nonetheless, since the deaths curve reacts slower to new infections (incubation time etc.) and non-risk groups are probably more prone to get an infection, I'd say this methode is rather underrating the total infection count even when getting the lethality right.
 

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I don't trust Sweden numbers anymore. They simply have too much credibility to lose.

Anyway, we can still see the situation is worse than Norway, but it must be even worse than that.
Why, because you are doubtful?

I don't trust the COVID-19 death counts in most countries, especially the USA - They ('public health authorities', Pharma, government) have too much credibility to lose.

Look up how they classify a COVID death in the USA, according to the CDC no less - totally dubious. Also Flu and pneumonia deaths have dropped to near zero in the USA (CDC)...interesting.
 

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The death toll is the only number I actually consider usable when comparing countries. Not as something to judge the severeness of the disease, but as a rough comparision of the spread in different countries.

The methode is far from perfect since the counting of deaths also differs from one country to another for instance, but since the lethality should be more or less the same everywhere (disregarding differences in the quality of healthcare systems), I like to calculate total number of infections with the number of deaths and an estimated lethality between 0.1 and 0.5. I consider this as much better than comparing the total number of confirmed cases, the difference in the amount of testing is just far too big to draw ANY conclusion from those numbers. Nonetheless, since the deaths curve reacts slower to new infections (incubation time etc.) and non-risk groups are probably more prone to get an infection, I'd say this methode is rather underrating the total infection count even when getting the lethality right.
The death toll is probably the best metric out there but still far from perfect. Different approaches to death counting and classification (e.g. preexisting diseases or post-mortem testing) and possible swindles by governments/ health authorities (Russia being the obvious example) make it less comparable between the countries. We'll probably need to wait until the end of this shit to get the better picture or even then we won't know the whole truth.
 

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For death toll, another problem is some country only count those occurring in hospitals, this is the case for the UK and presumably Germany. You can add at least 20% to get a more accurate figure.

In France, deaths in hospital account for 2/3 of the death tally.
 
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